Guardian Unlimited OnLine July 6 2007
http://www.guardian.co.uk/china/story/0,,2120044,00.html July 6 2007
· Dirty water and air kill 500,000 a year, says report
· Environment chief points finger at corrupt officials
Jonathan Watts in Beijing
The head of China's environmental agency has blamed the rising number of riots, demonstrations and petitions across the country on public anger at pollution.
Echoing the language of the Cultural Revolution, Zhou Shengxian called for a "struggle" against polluters, and said the public refused to accept the increasing degradation of the environment.
His unusually outspoken comments underscore the frustration of state mandarins at local government officials who ignore environmental standards in order to attract investment, jobs and bribes.
Breakneck growth has turned China into a huge environmental disaster area. A soon-to-be-published World Bank report says some 500,000 people die each year as a result of pollution.
Beijing is trying to shift the economy on to a more sustainable development track. The state council - China's cabinet - tightened the water pollution law to require more testing, licensing and stiffer penalties, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.
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Times OnLine July 6 2007
Cheap mortgage era ends with interest rate rise July 6 2007
Gary Duncan, Economics Editor, and Grainne Gilmore
The Bank of England pushed ahead with a fifth rise in interest rates in less than a year yesterday, lifting borrowing costs to a six-year high just as millions more homebuyers face a sudden jump in their mortgage bills.
The decision to order another quarter-point increase in base rates, to 5.75 per cent, the highest level since February 2001, will turn up the heat on hard-pressed households. Economists said yesterday that homeowners and businesses should get ready for further increases in rates this year.
The Bank’s move comes as many homeowners are hit by an abrupt end to cheap mortgage deals that have so far insulated them from the four previous rate rises.
Some 750,000 borrowers will reach the end of two-year fixed-rate loan deals, taken out when base rates were just 4.5 per cent, before the end of the year. They face a stark choice between a costlier variable rate from their lender, or switching to a new, but much more expensive, mortgage fix.
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Independent OnLine 'Indy' News July 6 2007
A message from the melting slopes of Everest July 6 2007
The sons of Hillary and Tenzing speak out about climate change: "Believe us, it's a reality"
By Cahal Milmo and Sam Relph
Fifty-four years after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first men to scale Everest, their sons have said the mountain is now so ravaged by climate change that they would no longer recognise it.
On the eve of the Live Earth concerts this weekend, Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing yesterday issued a timely warning that global warming is rapidly changing the face of the world's highest mountain and threatening the survival of billions of people who rely on its glaciers for drinking water.
The base camp where Sir Edmund and Norgay began their ascent is 40 metres lower than it was in 1953. The glacier on which it stands, and those around it, are melting at such a rate that scientists believe the mountain, whose Nepalese name, Qomolangma, means Mother of the World, could be barren rock by 2050.
Up to 40,000 Sherpas who live at the base of the Himalayas face devastation if vast new lakes formed by the melted ice burst and send a torrent of millions of tons of water down the slopes.
Mr Hillary, who has himself twice reached Everest's summit, said: "Climate change is happening. This is a fact. Base camp used to sit at 5,320 metres. This year it was at 5,280 metres because the ice is melting from the top and side. Base camp is sinking each year. For Sherpas living on Mount Everest this is something they can see every day but they can't do anything about it on their own."
The warning came as a survey revealed that most Britons remain unconvinced about the extent of climate change and that terrorism, crime, graffiti and even dog mess are more pressing issues for the UK. The Ipsos-Mori poll found that 56 per cent of people believe scientists are still debating whether human activity is contributing to climate change. In reality, there is virtual consensus that it is.
Just over half of people, 51 per cent, believe climate change will have little or no effect and more than one-third admitted they were taking no action to reduce their carbon emissions.
Speaking before the seven Live Earth concerts, which organisers hope will be a catalyst for action on global warming, Jamling Tenzing, who has also climbed Everest, said the mountain was serving as an early warning of the extent to which it is already changing the planet.
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BBC OnLine News July 6 2007
'Threat to kill' missing UK girl July 6 2007
Kidnappers who seized a three-year-old UK girl in Nigeria have threatened to kill her unless her father agrees to take her place, her mother says.
Margaret Hill, the daughter of an expatriate worker, was grabbed from a car on her way to school in the oil city of Port Harcourt.
Her mother, Oluchi, told the BBC that the kidnappers had called her demanding a meeting in a town in the Niger Delta.
She said they then allowed her to speak to her daughter who was crying.
Margaret was snatched by gunmen at 0730 (0630 GMT) on Thursday after they smashed a window of her car as it stood in traffic.
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BBC OnLine History July 6 2007
July 6 1988: Piper Alpha oil rig ablaze
A fire on a North Sea oil rig is feared to have claimed the lives of most of those on board.
The fire is believed to have started after explosions at about 2230 BST (2130 GMT) on the Piper Alpha drilling platform, 120 miles (193km) off the north-east coast of Scotland.
Helicopters and boats were immediately sent out to rescue the oil workers in an operation co-ordinated by the Aberdeen coastguard.
Pilots reported seeing an "inferno" up to 350ft (107m) high and a platform wrenched apart.
It is thought approximately 225 men were working on the rig owned by Occidental Oil.
Survivors are being airlifted to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary - some are said to be seriously injured.
Most of those who have been rescued so far said they survived by sliding down pipes or jumping hundreds of feet into the sea which was covered in burning oil.
The Piper Alpha platform is the largest and oldest platform in the North Sea oilfield.
It was last inspected two weeks ago but last week there was a small fire on the rig.
Since drilling began in the North Sea in the 1970s there have been 300 deaths on Britain's 123 oil installations, often in accidents caused by bad weather.
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